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Ōmārama Gazette
May 2023
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The May Issue

Gliding Club pioneer leaves living legacy
Murray's train that goes to nowhere
A day to get in the spirit of things
AOPA pays a flying visit
Ōmārama remembers, 2023
St John, Fenz and our First Response - the May update
Regular Features

Something to puzzle over
The Noticeboard
 The Community Reports 
The Directory
The Weather that Was  
The Last Word: How about a little ChatGPT?
Gliding club pioneer leaves living legacy
Former Omarama Gliding Club chief flying instructor Trevor Mollard at the airfield for his last glider flight with pilot and long-time friend Justin Wills. Photo: Supplied.

Trevor Mollard, an Ōmārama Gliding Club pioneer, dedicated volunteer  and advocate for soaring skies,  died in Christchurch last week.

Almost 60 years ago – in 1966 - as a young RNZAF recruit he signed up for his pilot’s course at Wigram and at the same time joined the Wigram Aviation Sports Club which later became the Ōmārama Gliding Club.


He flew gliders within two weeks, began his Air Force flight training the day after and made his first visit to Ōmārama the following year. It was to become his special place.

While flying helicopters out of Hobsonville, Auckland and he joined the Auckland RNZAF Aviation Sports Club and became its Chief Flying Instructor.

A subsequent change of jobs and move to Wellington in 1975 saw him swap gliding roles, relinquishing CFI duties for a role with the New Zealand Gliding Association’s executive.
On its technical committee, he was responsible for overseeing all operational procedures of the association for just over 10 years. This experience proved significant for what he would later bring to Ōmārama.

Later Trevor moved into an airline flying career in New Zealand and overseas.
It wasn't until 2010 Trevor and wife Jenny bought their holiday home for their Ōmārama base.
But it was earlier, in 2005, Trevor became the Ōmārama Gliding Club’s CFI a role he held for 15 years until his ill health forced him to pass on the role to Gavin Wrigley (Grizz) in late 2020.

Friends Youth Glide New Zealand director Roger Read and former New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation president Yvonne Loader, both with a long time association with the Ōmārama Gliding Club,said Trevor’s ability to instruct and teach was second to none.
“He was often called upon to mentor experienced pilots in developing their mountain flying skills and Trevor always helped out with the annual Youth Soaring Development Camp at Ōmārama.
Everyone learned something. His calm and patient manner was extraordinary and he always checked the pupil was understanding the information being imparted.  He particularly enjoyed passing on his extensive knowledge of mountain soaring.”

Roger and Yvonne, who have written the Gliding community’s tribute to Trevor (below),  recall a vital but not necessarily well-known role Trevor held as Gliding NZ Airspace Committee chairman.
He fought tirelessly against the ever-increasing demands for more controlled airspace and its inevitable restrictions on gliding access.
“It was hard going but the big win was overturning the decisions that had been made to make controlled airspace over the Mt Cook area… Fortunately, it remains uncontrolled airspace to this day and provides world class soaring for all to enjoy.”

In 2016, he was awarded the highly prestigious FAI Paul Tissandier Award for his outstanding services to aviation and gliding in particular. 
“He has left an ongoing legacy through his passing on of his extensive knowledge and gliding skills to many glider pilots. He will be sadly missed but remembered as someone we were privileged to know and share precious time with; an accomplished aviator and a thoroughly good person who made our lives all the richer for his friendship and support,"  the tribute says.

Trevor's  outstanding volunteer contribution extended outside of gliding community.
Not long after he and Jenny more or less permanently settled in town, Trevor joined the Ōmārama Residents’ Association committee where he played an active part during his short membership.
Trevor had been ill for some time and  passed away peacefully in Christchurch on Monday, April 24. 

Read  the full tribute from Roger and Yvonne  below:
Farewell, Trevor Mollard

By Roger Read and Yvonne Loader 

Although expected, as Trevor had been ill for some time, it still came as a shock when he passed away peacefully in Christchurch on Monday, April 24. 

It was 57 years ago when Trevor joined the RNZAF’s No 44 Pilots' Course at Wigram.  He joined the Wigram Aviation Sports Club (WASC), which is now the Ōmārama Gliding Club, in the January and was flying gliders within two weeks.  In July he went solo in a glider and commenced his Air Force flight training the day after.  Trevor’s first visit to Ōmārama occurred in 1967. 

In the Airforce, Trevor graduated with his Wings and flew helicopters based out of Hobsonville, Auckland. He joined the Auckland RNZAF Aviation Sports Club and, when they purchased a Skylark 2 (a hot ship in its day), he was up and away soaring again. Within months, Trevor took over as president of the club, and also became the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI).  After completing the eight years the airforce required as a “return of service”, Trevor left the RNZAF.

In March 1975, Trevor took up employment with the Ministry of Transport’s Calibration Flight based at Paraparaumu and promptly joined the Wellington Gliding Club.  Trevor said he was saved from CFI duties as he was snaffled on to the NZ Gliding Association’s Executive.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Trevor was one half of the New Zealand Gliding Association Technical Committee, being responsible for overseeing all of the operational procedures of the Association for just over ten years. 

Having moved on to an airline flying career, he flew in New Zealand for Newman Airlines and Ansett, then overseas in Switzerland with Cross Air (joining a locally based gliding club), then in the UK with Go Fly (a subsidiary of British Airways) finishing his airline career in 2014 with Easyjet UK who had taken over Go Fly.

By then, Trevor and Jenny had invested in their first  property at Ōmārama in 2010 and were regular visitors when over escaping the Northern Hemisphere winters.
In 2005, Trevor took on the role of CFI of the Ōmārama Gliding Club (previously the WASC). He was often called upon to mentor experienced pilots in developing their mountain flying skills and Trevor always helped out with the annual Youth Soaring Development Camp at Ōmārama. He served as CFI for 15 years before health problems forced him to hand over to Griz (Gavin Wrigley) the year before last. 

Trevor’s ability to instruct and teach was second to none – everyone learned something – his calm and patient manner was extra-ordinary and he always checked the pupil was understanding the information being imparted.  He particularly enjoyed passing on his extensive knowledge of mountain soaring.

Trevor took on the onerous task of being chairman of the Gliding NZ Airspace Committee, fighting the ever-increasing encroachment on gliding access to airspace.  When he was not flying, Trevor monitored the ever-increasing demands for more controlled airspace over New Zealand.  In his role as chairman of the Airspace Committee, he analysed such proposals in detail and worked hard at providing rebuttal evidence, often succeeding in modifying the proposals to minimise their impact on gliding operations.  It was hard going but the big win was overturning the decisions that had been made to make controlled airspace over the Mt Cook area. This had made the area very restricted for gliding so when the decision was over-turned it was well celebrated. Fortunately, it remains uncontrolled airspace to this day and provides world class soaring for all to enjoy.

Trevor’s personal soaring achievements included gaining his three Fédération Aéronautique Internationale/ World Air Sports Federation (FAI)Diamond badges, the 1,000 km Diploma, participating in numerous competition events with a highlight being winning the Club Class championship held at Ōmārama flying the club’s single seat Discus C glider.
In recognition of everything, Trevor had achieved in aviation, in 2016 he was awarded the highly prestigious FAI Paul Tissandier Award for his outstanding services to aviation and gliding in particular.  A very fitting tribute to acknowledge his dedication  and the many voluntary hours freely given to the gliding movement in his various roles.

Trevor enjoyed more than 50 years of flying and instructing and logged a total flying time of 23,600 hours of which 3,000 were gliding hours. It was a lifetime filled with a variety of flying experiences; with a passion and dedication to aviation that he generously shared as he made an outstanding contribution to the Ōmārama Gliding Club. He has left an ongoing legacy through his passing on of his extensive knowledge and gliding skills to many glider pilots.

In January, several club members and friends were fortunate to enjoy a wonderful “pot luck dinner” evening with Trevor and Jenny in the Soaring Centre cookhouse to celebrate Trevor’s contribution to the club and to recall entertaining stories from his aviation adventures. Trevor’s love for Ōmārama was founded on it being his “special place” where he wanted to be. He will be sadly missed but remembered as someone we were privileged to know and share precious time with; an accomplished aviator and a thoroughly good person who made our lives all the richer for his friendship and support.

It is important to also pay tribute to his wife Jenny whose support of Trevor and his love of flying was unwavering - always being very accommodating of whatever his mainly ‘aviation’ focus was at the time.
Messages can be sent to Jenny and the family at 702/ 64 Kilmore St, Christchurch Central 8013  
Below: Ōmārama Gliding Club chief flying instructor  Trevor Mollard  and Twizel school pupil Tuulianna Laukkanen, who was 13 at the time, return to the airfield after a flying lesson in November 2020. Photo: Ruth Grundy

Murray's train that goes to nowhere
Engineer Murray Stuart contemplates his creative outdoor fireplace at Omaradise.

It was a photo he came across on the internet that lit the flame of inspiration for Murray Stuart.
And he certainly had all the bits and bobs around the place to pull off the project.
With his background in engineering – Murray ran his own gas engineering company in Dunedin – Murray Stuart Engineering, now Gasco & Pipeline Ltd, and his love of auto restoration, his creativity was piqued when he came across the photo  of an indoor fireplace crafted to look like the front of a steam locomotive.
His idea was to modify the design and build a similar outdoor fireplace at his and wife Sharon's home, Omaradise.
“I thought, what a cool idea…I love trains.”

Growing up, he lived at Port Chalmers and would catch the passenger steam train  - the last one in operation - to school in Dunedin each day.
[According to Wikipedia, suburban passenger services were run from Dunedin on the line for more 100 years until the end of 1979.]

Murray started work on the fireplace project in his expansive workshop in June 2021 and unveiled the ‘almost’ finished work in March, this year.
Part of a B47 Baler was used to create the cowcatcher. The smokestack/chimney was an old irrigation pipe. A water valve drilled with bolts became a smoke box 'door'.
An old square central heating diesel storage tank was repurposed as the fire box.
A headlight from a vintage car reached the heights of its humble ambitions to now grace the front of the ‘locomotive’
And the finishing touches were provided by a pressure gauge and  old brass valves, “I had in the workshop for years’, and brass bar footrails and handrails.
Since its debut various additions have been made to fine-tune the outdoor fireplace.
Murray continues to talk enthusiastically about modifications.
Which begs the question; Is it still a work in progress then?
“It’s always a work in progress,” he says laughing.
A day to get in the spirit of things
Prince Charles, the longest-serving Prince of Wales, visited the New Zealand Electricity Department’s Twizel control room in 1981 and pushed the button to remotely start a generator.
The Prince was guided by Twizel area operator Ray Dyer (left)
and Otematata area superintendent Dave McBride (Right)
Meanwhile on the far right,  a young operator – Ken Rogers, now an Ōmārama resident
- gives key instructions to the then Minister of Energy, Bill Birch.

Behind, with the tin hat [perhaps in anticipation of disaster?]  is "God" - Max Smith
. Photo: Supplied
There may be coronation quiche on the menu on Saturday in some parts of the Commonwealth but here in Ōmārama our red-blooded Southern Kiwis are more likely to be sitting down to a roast duck dinner.
As the sun rises here on His Majesty’s day of pomp and glory, maimais around the district will echo to the sound of somewhat different gun salutes.
I have it on good authority - but I'm not sure whose - that the Palace was alerted by loyal subjects in Ōmārama that the date for the King's big bash did clash with the opening of duck shooting but to no avail.
Both will go ahead as planned.
Perhaps, the Palace realised the duck hunters would be well and truly 'in their cups’, their big day almost done by the time the King is brought his golden slippers and Coronation Day breakfast tray on the other side of the globe.
Still, some will make a bit of an effort for his big do.
Some will have dug out old photos, like the one above, and the memories attached in observance of the occasion and maybe also a posh hat, the fine china and a bit of bunting in readiness for an all-nighter in front of the telly. 
As well, officialdom does have a few things in store to mark the day even for lil’ ol’ Ōmārama.
The coronation of the King of New Zealand will be marked by  tree planting ceremonies across the nation, including here. Waitaki Deputy Mayor Hana Halalele will plant a totara at 10am, on Saturday at the Ōmārama Memorial Hall. 
Photos from Waitaki’s planting ceremonies will be displayed during the national ceremonial event hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister in Auckland, on Sunday. 
GPS details from all tree plantings nationwide will be added to a webpage created following the events so members of the public will be able to find the King’s trees for years to come
There will also be gun salutes from Devonport in Auckland and Point Jerningham in Wellington at midday on Sunday.
So, if I could just make a wee suggestion for those royalist duck hunters who wish to acknowledge Charlie’s big day – perhaps you could tuck a  beautifully folded purple silk neckerchief in the top pocket of your swannie? Maybe  a bit of bunting for the maimai, perhaps?
Prince Charles acceded to the throne on 8 September 2022, on the death of Queen Elizabeth II who had reigned for 70 years, the longest of any British monarch.
King Charles’ Coronation: What you need to know.
The opening of Duck Shooting: What you need to know
Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are – do this by royal decree; Have fun, Everyone!
Aopa pays a flying visit
Visitors of all ages arrived in Ōmārama on Friday to enjoy a weekend of flying in the region. 
Photo: Paloma Serville

Small aircraft from all over the country flew into Ōmārama Airfield last Friday for the 2023 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Autumn fly-in event.

About 75 planes and three helicopters flew into town for a bit of a catch up and to go exploring.
Ōmārama supplied the stunning Autumn weather.
On Saturday, the visitors broke into small groups and took off for a day's excursion following five different itineraries around the region, “flying as far west as Longslip Station, as far south-west as Galloway, as far east as Kokonga, as far north as Clayton Station and all parts in between”, Murray Paterson, one of the organisers, said.
“Thanks to the generosity of landowners” the group was given permission to access more than 60 airstrips, Murray said.
Friday night had been a great time to catch up  and "sit round and have a bit of yak," Murray said.
The Pink Glider Café catered for the group's two evening meals and the packed lunched for the day trip.
Murray said the fly-in featured a strong gathering of Bearhawk aircraft– experimental owner-built aircraft – with six of the seven in the country at the fly-in.
Aopa members  came from as far away as Keri Keri, Night Caps and Feilding.
Graeme and Marie Donald, who had flown their GlaStar from Feilding to Ōmārama, planned to continue their adventure and head across the Tasman to Australia following the event.
Simon Nicholson, Paloma Serville, and daughter Indie had flown their red Bearhawk, which Simon had built, down from Hamilton.
Paloma said they had loved every minute of the trip and the autumn weather.
Flying with a small child was not so different to a long drive in a car – except the plane was noisier, Paloma said.
And Indie had made a new friend her own age and travelled back to Ōmārama with them and their family  in their plane after Saturday’s adventures.
Below: Paloma Serville and Simon Nicholson, with daughter Indi in the back, flew Simon's BearHawk MGO from Hamilton to Ōmārama for the Aopa Autumn Fly-in and enjoyed taking-in the high country scenery.  Photos: Paloma Serville. 
Graeme and Marie Donald's GlaStar ZK-SPO leads the queue for refuelling after Saturday's excursion. Photos; Ruth Grundy 
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots' Association Autumn Fly-in to Omarama.
April 28 to April 29, 2023.
With thanks to Mark Sinclair and  @AOPA NZ
Ōmārama Remembers 2023
The New Zealand flag flies above the Memorial Rock
at the Ōmārama Memorial Hall on Anzac Day.

Many gathered in sunshine  at the Ōmārama Memorial Hall to honour those from this community and its districts who have served in war.
Continuing its legacy of respect, this year marked a special moment in the community’s history as the service returned to the Memorial Hall for the first time since the 1970s.
The Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade, led by Chief Fire Officer Greg Harper and flagbearers Michaela Kennedy and Glen Smith, marched from the Fire Station to the Hall where about 200 people had gathered for the service.
Upper Waitaki Returned and Services Association president Indi Gard said Anzac Day was the day to "celebrate the courage" of all those who had "stood up for the country" and to remember all New Zealanders who had served in war.
“The spirit of Anzac runs deep within our heritage – a shared heritage between two nations,” Mrs Gard said.
Waitaki District Council Ahuriri Ward councillor Brent Cowles gave the address urging the community not to forget all who had sacrificed, not only those who had gone to war but also those who remained at home.
“We owe them a debt of great gratitude,” Cr Cowles said.
Padre Karen Hofman prayed for strength to discard “the bonds of hatred” and the “power of revenge” that the emotions of war can bring.
She read out the names from the plaques of those from the area who had lost their lives in WW1 and WW2.
Alice Griffiths read the Ode of Remembrance and bugler John Sturgeon played the Last Post and Reveille.
Flag orderly was Bill Wallace.

Ka maumahara tonu tātou ki a rātou
We will remember them.

Below: Scenes from Anzac Day 2023 at the Ōmārama Memorial Hall
St John, Fenz and our First Response

- the May update
The Ōmārama and Districts Community Co-Response Trust continues to wait for news that its request to have its Fire First Response unit be turned out to all medical emergency 111 calls has been formalised. following Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Hato Hone St John’s review of its Memorandum of Understanding.
The review began in November last year.
Last month, Fenz acting national manager, response capability, Aaron Waterreus told the Ōmārama Gazette  St John and Fire and Emergency hoped to “be at a point to have a draft document out to our key stakeholders for review and comments in May”.

The Trust’s petition to Parliament asking it to urge Fenz and St John to consider the Ōmārama request as a local agreement in the MOU has also taken several steps forward.
Last month, it was handed to Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and it was presented to the House by the Clerk of the House on Tuesday.
In response the Petitions Committee has asked the Trust if it wants to be heard at an oral hearing.
Trust member Craig Dawson is at present preparing for this and the group is waiting for a hearings date.

On a separate issue. St John have confirmed with the Ōmārama First Response  it will be holding two two-day training sessions for new First Response volunteers in November and December.
Something to puzzle over...
Autumn leaves and Ladybird Hill,
April 22, 2023, Omarama
The Noticeboard

To have your community notice included here email:
The Ōmārama Gazette has a focus on our 'Noticeboard' section and community group with contributions welcome. Let us all know what you are up to, and any little snippets such as congratulations or farewells.

Sincere condolences to Lorraine and Mike King and the family on the death of Lorraine's mother Nancy Fluit last month.

Wishing Ōmārama School principal Geraldine Sumner a happy birthday for Wednesday, May 3.

Kurow Medical Centre  Ōmārama Clinic at the  Ōmārama Community Centre, is open Thursdays, 8.30am to 12.30pm. To make appointments for all clinics, order repeat scripts or make enquiries please contact Kurow Medical Centre 03 436 0760
(Monday to Thursdays).

The Ōmārama Community Library is open 9.30am to 11am,  Wednesdays and Saturdays. Library hours can change. Contact Yvonne: 027 476 7473.

Ōmārama MenzShed meets each Saturday at 10am and at other times too.
For further information please contact Malcolm Cameron 022 476 2225 
St Thomas' Ōmārama Church Community: 
chairperson: Ven Dr Michael Godfrey, phone 022 342 9977 or  email; committee secretary (Presbyterian): Rev Lee Kearon, phone: 021 250 1060 or email:

The Ōmārama Golf Club  Saturdays cards in 12.30pm, tee-off 1pm.
Club captain Adrian Tuffley phone: 027 347 8276

The Ahuriri Community Catchment Group meets once a month. For time and place contact facilitator Nicola McKerchar. Phone: 022 612 7570; email:

The Upper Waitaki Young Farmers Club meets at 7.30pm on the first Monday of each month at the ‘Top Pub’ - the Blue and Gold pub, in Kurow. All welcome. Join the Facebook group.

Ōmārama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday during the primary school term at the Ōmārama Community Centre.  For more information phone president Nic McKerchar 022 612 7570 or secretary Tarsh Bell  027 349 0016

Bridge Club - The Ōmārama  Bridge Club meets on a regular basis and would welcome new members. If you are interested please phone Sylvia Anderson 438 9784 or Ann Patterson 438 9493.

The Ōmārama Model Aircraft Club meets on Saturdays from 9.00 am to 12.00 noon at its flying ground at the Ōmārama airfield. All welcome - Contact Don Selbie on 027 435 5516.

FENZ Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade meets 7pm each Wednesday and has its meeting at 7:30pm on the third Wednesday of the month. New members welcome. 

A gentle exercises and social afternoon group meets at the Otematata District Club at 1.30pm  Thursday afternoons. Gold coin donation and a cuppa after the exercises.

The exercises are run with the guidance of personal trainer Lauren Maree. Gold coin donation and a cuppa after the exercises. Contact Ethel Gray 03 438 7764.

Waitaki Newcomers Network: For more information about this group and to subscribe to regular updates send contact details to E:
W: F:

Plunket Line: 0800 933 922
Ōmārama Plunket Committee: Aimee Snelgrove 
022 350 5536
The June issue of the Ōmārama Gazette
is Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The close-off for this is Thursday, June 1.

Office hours are from 8am to 10am, Monday to Friday
Advertising pays for
production and distribution
To find out about publication and close-off dates,
and how much it costs to place your advertisment, 
 phone 021 294 8002, 03 438 9766 or email
The Community Reports
Upper Waitaki Police News 

Hi all,

Crikey another month done already. How time flies, won’t be long, and it’ll be halfway through the year. I’m still getting used to writing 2023 on my reports!
What’s the saying, best laid plans, never go to plan. That describes my intentions about concentrating on school speeds. I have had the opportunity to patrol a little, but not as much as I would like. Of course, school holidays didn’t help either. So far the highest speed I’ve clocked is 83km/h that’s 33k’s over the speed limit. I’d hate to imagine the carnage if that person had hit a small child. It would end up in heartbreak for all involved. So, I’ll be concentrating on this area for the next month or even longer until I get enough statistics to prove my case.

'Lowest of the low'…maybe 'Dumb and Dumber' is a better description? Either way it’s how I would describe a gentleman and his mate who I got to meet last week. This was after I received a complaint from the Four Square after the FENZ book trolley’s honesty box had the money stolen.
Unfortunately for this Einstein his actions were caught on CCTV cameras. Although I was unable to get a registration of the vehicle he and his mate were using, I was able to get a good view of the vehicle itself. Long story short, after checking some areas, I located the vehicle in Twizel.
Unfortunately for both numbskulls, who had spent their loot on booze, it also resulted in the driver being processed and charged with driving with excess breath alcohol. Because his result was over 650mgms he was also slapped with an immediate 28-day driver's licence suspension.
Not to mention of course, his passenger was arrested for the theft from the honesty box. Both will be appearing in court in early May. I’ve since found out that the driver was apprehended two days later in Christchurch boozed and driving so is now facing further charges including driving whilst disqualified. Think I’ll go with 'Dumb and Dumber'!
So far, it’s been a fairly mild winter, but I’m sure there’s a lot worse to come. I have attended a couple of crashes. One of these was because the driver, who was wearing a purse of sorts, decided to try to take it off while driving. This of course didn’t end well, and she ended up in the farmer’s paddock upside down.  Fortunately for her and her passenger their injuries were minor. It does go to show that a moment's distraction can lead to serious consequences. My message would be to stay focused and concentrate on the job at hand. If you do need to do something such as answer the phone or remove your handbag then pull over. It only takes a moment - rather that than you crashing.
Search and Rescue
The guys and girls from SAR recently conducted an exercise on the A20 cycle trail between Sailors Cutting and Otematata. This was to hone their skills with what we call “the stretcher rope management system” which is a fancy term for a stretcher attached to ropes going down a steep bank where they’re required to rescue a patient that’s come a cropper. Of course, along that section of trail there’s quite a few areas which are a bit hairy if you were to come off.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day! A special thanks to our patient, Angela Smith, who for once didn’t have much to say, Haha! (Due to the fact that she was meant to be unconscious). No doubt I’ll pay for that comment!!
Duck shooting is almost upon us, if you are shooting please make sure that you follow the seven cardinal rules*, be especially wary of leaning your shotgun up against the wall of your maimai, make sure it’s not loaded, safety’s on etc, and if you are going to have a couple of Fanta’s make sure this is after you’ve put your firearms away securely.
Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses, although the forecast says different, I’ll believe it when I see it. 

That’s it from me.
Stay safe,

Senior Constable Nayland Smith 
Sole charge Constable / Omarama / Po Box 101, Omarama 9448.
Phone:  (03) 438 9559 / Ext:  34580 /

Below: Ōmārama Search and Rescue volunteers hone their skills using a stretcher rope management system in an exercise designed to simulate the rescue of a fallen cyclist on the Alps to Ocean cycle trail on Sunday. Photos: Nayland Smith
Ōmārama Golf Club 
Saturday Club Day, cards in 12 noon,  tee-off 12.30 pm.

Club captain Adrian Tuffley phone: 027 347 8276
Secretary: Christine Bowman phone: 027 209 2320
Ōmārama Community Garden 

We are a group of gardeners who work together to create something for everyone in our community 😊
 Anyone is welcome to pop along to the Community Centre and have a look, and also to put in any plants they may have ready to go in.
Join the Facebook group:

Contact Heather Smith, 027 330 0249
Ōmārama MenzShed 
The Ōmārama MenzShed meets at 10am each Saturday 
and at other times, too.

For further information contact: 
Malcolm Cameron  022 476 2225 

Ōmārama Collie Dog Club
A picture paints  a thousand words; Celebrations at the Stanley Hotel, Macraes, following the Farmlands North Otago centre championships at Waihemo last month.
Photo: North Otago Dog Trials Facebook page

Congratulations to the Ōmārama Collie Dog Club triallists who have qualified for the South Island & New Zealand Championships.
They are Ginger Anderson, Rick Aubrey, Todd Burke (president) and Scott Hunter. 
Ed Aubrey will judge Event I, the Long Head.
The championships will be hosted by the Otago Centre at the Warepa Collie Club, near Balclutha,  and begin on Monday, May 22.
Age Concern in Ōmārama 

Age Concern Coffee afternoons are
on the second Tuesday of each month
at the Ōmārama Community Centre.
The next coffee afternoon is 1pm to 3pm,
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Coming soon from Neighbourhood Support...
Dates to be confirmed...

St John Three Steps For Life  Programme

at the Ōmārama Community Centre 
- You'll learn how to take action by calling 111
- how to start CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) 
- how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
- Training sessions are for groups of 10 or more and run by a St John community educator. 
FOR SALE           

Haier dishwasher, model  15V3S1, stainless steel.
Brand new and still in wrapper.  Won't fit in my new kitchen.  
Yours for  $910.  Phone  027 477 8231  Ōmārama.
We are seeking a motivated, energetic and customer focused Management couple.
This position is available in the beautiful Countryside of Omarama.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
  • Overseeing the daily operations of the motel including check-in and check-out procedures.
  • Caretaking duties of the property
  • Management of staff & overseeing Contractors.
  • Housekeeping.
What we Offer:
  • 3-bedroom Managers Residence.
  • Electricity, Gas and Water included.
  • Free Internet.
Remuneration package based on experience.
Please email details to
Ōmārama Airfield Ltd
The Ōmārama Airfield Ltd half-year report  was presented to the Waitaki District Council at its meeting of April 26, 2023 along with its draft statement of intent for 2023-2024.
The Ōmārama Airfield Company is legally required to report to the council because it is a council-controlled organisation. 
In the report, which covered the six-months to December 2022,  Airfield Company chairman Clive Geddes said the company had traded ”close to budget” for the six-month period and expected to “trade out the balance of the year within budget”.
In other matters, the consent for the Nimbus Rd subdivision had been granted and the project would be “progressed as soon as practical”. 
And, despite lower than usual numbers entering the national gliding championships in January, airfield activity since “has been significant”, the report said.
Points to note about the financial report for the period were that revenue had exceeded budget despite fewer soaring days and low entries in the regional competitions resulting in shortfall in budgeted income. 
It had been offset by increased operator fees and percentage turnover and the actual result was a modest increase in revenue for the period.
Overall operating expenses were close to budgeted. 
Power costs were lower because a wet spring and early summer meant  irrigation was not needed as often. 
Conversely, fuel costs increased because of the need to do more mowing plus the price of fuel went up.
Terminal expenses were “significantly lower” because of a change in service provider.
The company also produced its draft statement of intent – it’s plans for the upcoming year - for consideration by the council. 
In return, the council will provide the company with its “Letter of Expectation” which will explain what the council wants it to “reflect” in its final version. 
The final Statement of Intent will be presented to the June 27 meeting of the council.
Ōmārama Community Library 
Above: Have you popped in lately? The Ōmārama Community Library has a newly-refreshed children's section, plus more new titles just in time for  winter reading.

The  Ōmārama Community Library  
is open 9.30am to 11am, 
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 
at the Ōmārama Community Centre.

Contacts: Georgie  027 486 1525 or Yvonne  027 476 7473
Ōmārama School 


There is an opening for a cleaner, this is 10 hours per week at $23.70 per hour.
Time is flexible any time after 3pm and before 8am.
This is a permanent position with extra hours available during the school holidays.
From the Ōmārama School newsletter...

Board of Trustees Elections/ Principal's appointment
Karl French and Shane Leopold have been elected onto the board. Thank you for taking the time to vote and supporting the ongoing governance of our school.
An update about the principal recruitment will be forthcoming shortly.
We have some exciting things happening and are looking for some parental/caregiver help.
● This term we are focusing on putting on our production of 'Splash'. We need some help with creating a
large cut-out of a boat with portholes. If you can help then please let Whaea Gee or Ange in the office
● We are also on the look out for costumes, we need white caps that we can paint and turn into animal
heads. If you know where we can get about 30 that would be fantastic.
● We have to fit out some pirates, ballroom dancer, chef, cleaner, rabbits, crew officers, Aussies,
Americans, Mice, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Armadillo’s, Giraffes, Kangaroos, Monkey’s, Dodo’s,
Seagulls, Parrots, Penguins.
● We also need props, suitcases, barrels (2), tankards, a large kipper, party hats, wine glasses, swords
(play), ropes and chains.

Phone: 03 438 9815

Don't miss the boat! 
Ōmārama School  is about to make a huge 'Splash'!

Save the dates
for this 'wonderfully wet and wild' musical comedy

Two unforgettable performances; come to one, come to both!

11am Wednesday, June 28 - Matinee 
6pm Thursday, June 28 - Evening performance
at the Ōmārama Memorial Hall 

Ōmārama School Board of Trustees

Memorial Wall officially opened 
Ōmārama School pupils (front row left to right ) Amelia Harding, Toby Gloag, James Mason, (Back row, left to right) Eve McKerchar, Samantha Roulston and Eira Warnock 
admire the School's new memorial wall.

By Jemma Gloag, chairperson Ōmārama School Board of Trustees.

Ōmārama School has completed a long-awaited memorial wall, thanks to the kind donations of Ray Menzies, and Ron and Christian Blackstock.
The funds were bequeathed to the school in 2015, with the original intention of building a stone entrance way.
However, the school had recently built a wooden entrance way, and the funds were instead used to create the beautiful memorial wall, along with plantings and two picnic tables that were built around trees near the entrance.

The project experienced several hold-ups, including a stonemason being injured, difficulty finding a stonemason due to high demand, and a no-show from a contracted stonemason. The COVID-19 pandemic also caused delays. However, the memorial wall is finally complete, and it is a stunning addition to the school's entrance. The wall can be used as a seat and will provide a place for future plaques to honour members of the community.

Ōmārama School would like to express its gratitude to the Menzies and Blackstock Families for their generous donation and their contribution to the community. The memorial wall is a testament to their generosity and will be enjoyed by generations of students and community members.

Thank you 

The Ōmārama School Board of Trustees would like to especially thank the following, who in the past few weeks have donated their time, energy and machinery to complete various projects around the school, including the construction of  the 400m bike track.
  • Andrea and Ed Aubrey
  • Kim and Mike Doree 
  • AJ and Patrina Paton 
  • Clair Winslade 
  • Dave Watson 
  • Christy and Ramon Zeestraten 
  • Jenni Hales 
  • Richard Gloag
Very special thanks must go to Nic and Rich McKerchar

and super special thanks to Travis and Jo Golder
Ōmārama Playgroup
Ōmārama Playgroup meets at 9.30am each Wednesday
during the primary school term at the Ōmārama Community Centre.  

For more information contact:
president Nic McKerchar 022 612 7570
or secretary Tarsh Bell  027 349 0016 
Plunket: Aimee Snelgrove 022 350 5536
Ōmārama Residents' Association 
The May meeting of the 
Ōmārama Residents' Association 
has been cancelled.

The next meeting will be 
7pm, Thursday, June 15, 2023
at the Ōmārama Community Centre
An invitation is extended to all
Lindsay Purvis, chairperson, 027 438 9630
Yvonne Jones, secretary, 027 476 7473 

The minutes of the previous meeting are here 
Could those who want to contact the association by mail, send accounts to be paid, or have correspondence considered at the monthly meetings ensure it is addressed to: 
The Secretary,  P O Box 93, Ōmārama 9448.
The association's email address is

To make a booking for an upcoming event or for more
information about hall hire and availability
please  contact  Michelle Kitchen, 027 280 5446

or email

Care in the Community

Ōmārama Community Care Group


Thanks to generous donations our group now has
free emergency food supplies 
- all the staples you may need to get you and your family through.
Be assured all requests and referrals are taken in confidence.
Please contact Ruth 021 294 8002.

Royal District Nursing Service New Zealand 
is now operating in the Ahuriri and Waitaki valleys.
RDNS is a local home help specialist.
The organisation offers a range of home nursing and home support services to people of all ages and cultures in the comfort and security of their own homes. Whether you need complex nursing care at home, support while recovering from an injury or just a bit of help with housework and grocery shopping, RDNS can support you.

It accepts referrals from a range of health and home support professionals, including general practitioners, hospitals and other healthcare and support workers.

The Ōmārama Volunteer Fire Brigade
has a fold-up mobility scooter thanks to a generous donation. This along with a wheelchair are available for loan. To find out about these contact Chief Fire Officer Greg Harper 021 293 1171 or any fire brigade member.



Covid Care
If you are unlucky enough to catch Covid-19 here is the link to the up-to-date regulations and advice.

Unite against Covid-19

Ministry of Health Covid-19 Health Hub

Please do make contact if either yourself, or a friend or neighbour need anything.
We have - free RATS, free sanitiser, masks, gowns and face shields if you are caring for someone with Covid and need protection.
Only a phone call away:  Ruth Grundy 021 294 8002 

Twizel Community Care Centre  

Vicky is the office manager at the Twizel Care Centre. 

If you need any of the services listed below please contact the
Twizel Community Care Centre 
Mount Cook St, Twizel
Phone: 03 435 0687
Hours of opening: 9.00am - 2.00pm
Days of opening: Monday - Friday

• Work and Income – assistance with applying for benefits, helping with
queries regarding superannuation, and any other financial assistance you
may receive. Printing and scanning of documents.
• Inland Revenue – queries regarding anything IRD related, access to forms.
• Twizel-Tekapo Community Car bookings – this is a community car that
picks you up from your house and takes you wherever you need to go
such as town here in Twizel or Timaru for an appointment, whatever you
need. There is a cost involved depending on destinations.
• Home Delivered Meals – We have small roasts for $10, Regular meals for
$8 and small snack meals for $4. We can deliver to your home.
• Printing/scanning services
• Assistance with finding jobs in the area.
• Foodbank – donations, and supply people with food parcels when in need
• Any other government services – ACC, Department of Corrections, etc
• Arowhenua Whanau services – Free health clinic on the first Wednesday of
each month.
• Computer/cellphone assistance – needing help with something on your
computer or cellphone. Free WiFi
• Rat tests/Mask supply free of charge
• Assistance with filling in any forms or paperwork.
• Offer room hire to community groups and businesses.

Jobs: If you are looking for jobs a great place to start is the Jobs in the Mackenzie Facebook page.
Leaine Rush runs that Facebook page.

Transport can be quite a hurdle if you aren't able to drive.
Here's one solution and ratepayers fund this through the Environment Canterbury Rate. The Twizel-Tekapo Community Car . Here's how it works... The Twizel Community Care Centre (above) takes the bookings: Driven by volunteers, the car can be booked and used by anyone in Ōmārama to get you to nearby towns or cities for medical appointments or shopping visits – e.g to Twizel and back or Kurow and  includes trips to Oamaru, Dunedin or Christchurch etc. There is a minimal charge depending on the destination.

Another organisation that offers some limited help up our way is Age Concern (for people 65 and older).
Kathryn Bennett is the coordinator for Age Concern Waitaki, based in Oamaru.
From February 14 monthly coffee afternoons will be held at the Ōmārama Community Centre. 

Kathryn’s contact details are:
03 434 7008
027 4347 089

Hours: Mon-Wed 9- 4.30pm  / Thur- Fri 9-12.30pm

If you need  emergency home help – this is if you need cleaning done or the like in the short term, for example, if you are recovering from an illness - contact your GP for a referral.

Lake Ōhau Conservation Trust 

Avoca Forest planting day ...on Sunday May 7, 2023

What a fantastic day on Easter Sunday with 53 volunteers and 7 dogs coming along to help plant 753 plants in Avoca Forest (our legacy restoration project to create a native forest on the site of a plantation forest burnt in October 2020).

Please come along to help at our next planting day on Sunday, May 7.  

When: Planting will be between 10am and around 3.30pm, with a break for lunch, with a BBQ sausage for everyone who attends
Where: Meet at 80 Ohau Drive, in the Village (there will be signs out to show you where to come)
What: Bring a spade/shovel if you have one and your gardening gloves.
          Be prepared for all weathers – warm clothes and a sun hat! Wear sturdy shoes
          Remember to bring some lunch and a hot/cold drink

Our planting in 2023 and 2024 is to acknowledge and thank the firefighters who fought the 2020 wildfire.

Please contact the Trust ( with any queries. If a planting session is cancelled because of weather – it will be posted on the Trust’s website ( and Facebook page.

Viv, Katrina and Helen
Trustees of the Ōhau Conservation Trust


Volunteer people and dogs at Easter Sunday
planting day at Avoca Forest, Lake Ōhau Photo: Supplied
Waitaki Newcomers Network
For more information about this group and to subscribe to regular updates send contact details to

Contact: Paula Eatherley
Waitaki Newcomers Network and Migrant Support Coordinator
027 325 6151 (business hours)
‘The Community Reports' is
dedicated to news
from clubs, groups and sports teams.

Contributions are welcome 
The Directory 


phone 021 294 8002 or email

The weather that was - April 2023 
The last word...
It seems everyone is chatting about ChatGPT.
It seems everyone is talking about it, everyone is writing about it and chatting to it.
Well, there's bound to be more people today than were yesterday, anyway.
And, once you’ve heard about it, it’s hard not to be curious and maybe even a little scared.

So, what do I know? Very little and probably even less than I did yesterday.
I stand to be corrected, especially by my children,  and continuously updated.
But maybe that’s where you’re coming from too –  so we could walk through a little of this together.

First some definitions. 
ChatGPT is short for: Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer. Huh?
It is one of several more advanced ‘chat bots’ that companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and others have developed in the past year or so. ChatGPT is the child of the OpenAI company.
Don’t know what a chat bot is?
The very simplest ones are the cute wee animations that pop up on online shopping pages – admit it,  you do go there – and offer to help. They're not at all human but sometimes their answers are just as helpful. Yeah, that was said sarcastically. 
These bots are fed all the relevant store information and when asked the right questions spit out the string of words which match the most likely response… now upgrade that idea.
Here's what  the tech experts at PC Guide. have to say about it.
“Chat GPT constructs its response using the information it was trained on, where some of it is sourced from the internet. The bot then creates a string of words that are likely to follow each other and then outputs its response. As a result, releasing incorrect information is pretty inevitable.”
Chat GPT is pretty good at issuing warnings about its own reliability and accuracy but as the article says:
 “According to the developers, Chat GPT does have the potential to produce biased and harmful content. What's particularly concerning about this model is that it can deliver this content in a very convincing, plausible way.”
The next thing to know about it is Chat GPT is still learning, and you or I or any other users are the teachers. Each time you correct it, it revises its knowledge.
So, it’s a tool and like any tool humankind has always had the power to use it for good or for evil.
People who have had a play and report back come to the tool from their own perspective - how does this affect me?
Here's  Steve Braunias: The Secret Diary of Artificial Intelligence
I write for a community newsletter. Will it make my job easier?
In a lazy moment I asked it to write the May Issue of the Gazette. 
“I apologize, but as an AI language model, I am not capable of accessing current news or generating news articles without proper data sources. My training only goes up until September 2021, and I do not have access to real-time information. Is there anything else I can assist you with?” 

Yeah nah, not yet anyway  – local knowledge has always been what makes community reporting unique.
Any way it’s bound to say Ōmārama is in Canterbury, or the Mackenzie country.
Write about the community of Ōmārama I ask it. What did I tell you?! 
It takes the language it has learned on the internet to predict what could be said next.
It writes puff pieces and corporate media releases like a dream. 
Plunk in an organisation and a topic and it writes a whole lot of words that say precisely nothing.
And it does it in seconds. Scary, Huh!
And just like that, it’s going to be a whole lot harder than it already is to know when you are being mis-informed, and whether or not that email or text is spam.
Here’s an article in Forbes Magazine about the effect it is already having on freelance work. 
Write a poem – no problem. No wonder teachers are worried. 
Here's one generated in seconds about Blackbirds in a Rowan Tree - yeah, it was just what I saw when I looked out the window.
But note, the words are placed in a predictable pattern.
Chat GPT shows no imagination, it’s school report will say.
Unless, perhaps the teacher asked it to write the report?
It’s a dab hand at editing and it charges nothing. That I could use.
Every now and again in the history of humankind there comes along an invention that completely skews with our picture of the world. I guess calculators did this for the users of the abacus.
Warnings are being issued about the dangers but human nature being what it is we're always looking for something new, we’ll always look for the easy way out and we always want to believe something that is too good to be true. 
One clue that there is a need to take a cautious approach is how many organisations will not permit staff to access the technology from work  devices. 

The same warnings that apply to every other suspicious activity apply here too. 
Brush up on the rules here:

It might pay to take a cynical  approach from now but then that will also catch people out.
There was this headline in today's Otago Daily Times: Flunked students deny using AI for assessments
The best advice comes from ChatGPT itself.
 “Advice given [by Chat GPT] should not be taken.”
Here is a 40 minute podcast/YouTube clip from American publication Slate in plain American-English terms: How to face the A.I. Revolution which I found really helpful and, yes, a little scary.
You may want to know this: all care was taken when researching this story.
I used an unassigned login to access ChatGPT
No sensitive information was shared with  ChatGPT.
I did not use ChatGPT to write any stories.
I did not use ChatGPT to edit any stories.
Then again maybe I should have :)

To receive email alerts between monthly editions of the Ōmārama Gazette sign up to our 'Local List'.
and put 'Local List' in the subject line.

Thank you to all who share your stories and
contribute in other ways to the Gazette.

We all really appreciate what you do.

If you find anything amiss in the Ōmārama  Gazette
please contact Ruth Grundy, 021 294 8002 or email
and I will do my very best to put it right.
Contact the Ōmārama Gazette
Ōmārama Gazette
Editor: Ruth Grundy,
021 294 8002, 03 438 9766
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